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Let’s put that into prospective.
Shipping a 20′ container from Shenzhen, China, to Long Beach, California, costs about $1,700. Shipping it back is even cheaper. Storing that container’s contents for a year in Bronx, NY, would cost $3,576 dollars!
Sure, storage in New York City is expensive.
But even storage in wide-open Austin, Texas comes close – you’d still pay $1,260 per year to store that container’s contents.
Ocean freight is the grease in the wheels of international freight, moving 90% of everything we eat, wear and use. There may be a fair amount of criticism that can be levied at the occasionally struggling maritime industry, whether due to slow cultural changes or slow technology adoption.
But ocean freight works. The logistics technology wave now hitting the industry should make it even better, while hopefully reducing price volatility and enabling more efficient operations for ocean liners, forwarders and shippers.
Until then, here’s what you can expect from ocean freight prices…
Going forward (speculation ahead)
Traditionally, ocean freight prices start to dip off in the week of Thanksgiving. Which is why, beginning this week, we should start to see a slight decline in ocean freight pricing. That said, the Chinese New Year is early this year (January 28th, compared to February 8th last year) so the real present under the holiday tree for ocean carriers may be an earlier post-holiday spike as US importers rush to beat the Chinese New Year shut down.
Last year, ocean prices started to climb exactly one month before the Chinese New Year. Which means that as soon as people come back from holiday break (or if they’re prepared, right before they go), expect prices to start to climb.
Until then, enjoy your Thanksgiving Turkey. It may be one of the the only thing you’ll consume this holiday season that’s made in the USA.